How can broadcasters get honest interviews?

Claudia Stöckl (Ö3, ORF, Austria) and Andy Knoll (Ö3, ORF, Austria) are two of the most well-known radio personalities in Austria. And they have both received acclaim for their legendary interviews.

Claudia said that she tries to get her interviewees away from what they are there to sell – out of their PR speak – to produce a more natural, open interview. Interviews for her long-running show “Frühstück bei mir” are conducted at the guest’s home rather than at a studio, this really helps! Plus, Claudia always asks for the phone numbers of three people close to the guest, for her research beforehand. Brave interviewees give their mother’s phone numbers – who know everything about them. “It’s the best way to find out who the real ‘them’ is” she said.

Claudia and Andy both reinforced the importance of prior research so that you are best prepared to cope with any surprising turnarounds or revelations in an interview.

Andy highlighted the importance of authenticity and how radio could learn something from YouTube personalities, who are successful without executives telling them to “be this way or be that way”.

The Austrian radio hosts were asked about how much they communicate their own personality as an interviewer. Claudia said that if an interviewee’s story is making her cry, she’ll cry, as ultimately she’s just a normal human being listening to someone else’s story. A good interviewer should be as open and honest as you want your guest to be.